WFSB - Eyewitness News

Dog tests positive for rabies in Waterford, East Lyme areaWATERFORD, CT (WFSB) – The Waterford-East Lyme Animal Control released a public service announcement after a domestic dog tested positive for rabies. The animal control said the dog spent time in both the Groton and New London areas. According to the animal control office, rabies is fatal to everyone and everything if not treated in time. They are asking pet owners to make sure dogs and cats are vaccinated against the disease. All dogs and cats in the state are required to be vaccinated. For more information about rabies and the symptoms, click <a href="" target="_blank">here.</a>
$550 million up for grabs in Wednesday's Powerball drawing(WFSB) -- Lottery fever is gripping the country once again and the only cure seems to be a winning ticket. Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing has an estimated jackpot of $550 million. It’s the eighth largest in the history of the game. The odds of matching all five numbers plus the Powerball number are pretty low, about one in more than 292 million. Tickets are $2 per wager, and you can add the Power Play feature for $1 more.
PD: Woman was in possession of crocodile monitor valued at $15,000NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -- A Newington woman is facing charges after police said she was in possession of a crocodile monitor, which is a prohibited reptile. The investigation began in June of last year, when New Britain police were notified about a foul odor and flies coming from an apartment on Chestnut Street. When officers got there they found the crocodile monitor, as well as two emaciated dogs inside. Officer said the apartment was filthy, smelled of urine, and saw feces throughout. The temperature inside was also extremely hot and there were no fans or air conditioning inside. Nobody appeared to be living inside the apartment, and the conditions were so poor that the New Britain Health Department had to condemn it. The property owner identified Eileen Rodriguez of Newington as the renter of the apartment. Police said she and her boyfriend Carlos Colon were believed to have been involved in harboring the animals in the apartment under those conditions. Colon was arrested last November and charged with three counts of cruelty to animals. Rodriguez was arrested on Tuesday and charged with two counts of cruelty to animals, and illegal possession of prohibited species without a permit. She relinquished ownership of the two dogs and the crocodile monitor was turned over to the Connecticut Environmental Police. The estimated black market value of the reptile is about $15,000.
Lawmakers to vote on bill that would implement tollsHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- The topic of tolls continues at the state capitol. On Wednesday, lawmakers are discussing a bill to implement tolls in Connecticut. The Transportation Committee is expected to vote on three toll proposals following a 12-hour public hearing. One proposal delays a vote for a year until there are more details on where tolls will be, and another puts the Dept. of Transportation in charge. Governor Ned Lamont’s latest proposal is a plan for 53 toll gantries on four of the state's highways-- I-91, I-95, I-84, and Route 15. "I really think it's the future of the state and that's why I'm leading in on this hard," Lamont said. He continues to say that the <a href="" target="_blank">revenue generated from tolls</a> would help upgrade the state's transportation infrastructure, including a number of deteriorating bridges around the state. He said it was not an easy decision to propose tolls, but the state needs reliable revenue and no more borrowing. Democratic Senator Derek Slap said he's not endorsing tolls but wants to keep the discussion moving. "All this stuff is difficult part of the reason CT is in this budget mess is because for far too long elected leaders did not make tough decisions," Slap said. Before the Transportation Committee started, Democrats and Republicans met privately to caucus. "It's been tolls, period. There hasn't been a dialogue about a mix of things it either tolls or nothing," said Republican State Rep. Brenda Kupchick. The anti-toll movement has mobilized and they want to be heard. "The tolls issue is opposed by Republicans, by Democrats, by citizens all over the state," said Neil Tolhurst, of No Tolls CT. Wednesday’s meeting came just one day after a group protested tolls in state by <a href="" target="_blank">placing a large inflatable "toll troll"</a> on the capitol lawn. Stay with Ch. 3 throughout the day as developments become available.
Windsor Locks police searching for sex assault suspectWINDSOR LOCKS, CT (WFSB) -- Windsor Locks police are looking for a man wanted on sex assault charges. Police said they are looking for 44-year-old Asbel Rivera, who is facing six counts of first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. No weapons were used in the crimes, but police said he has two handguns registered in his name, as well as an active pistol permit. Anyone with information should contact police at (860) 627-1461.
Fans flock to Hartford for March MadnessHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - March Madness has arrived in Hartford. The XL Center is hosting several NCAA men's basketball games starting on Thursday. It's part of the Division I men's basketball tournament, and is expected to generate millions of dollars through the weekend. <a href="" target="_blank">Teams from across the country</a> will face off between Thursday and Saturday. Practices ahead of the NCAA tournament were wrapping up inside the XL Center on Wednesday, as fans from across the country made their way to downtown Hartford. From near and far, fans flocked to Hartford to be part of the ‘madness.’ "I waited 21 years ago for this to happen again,” said Paul Wendrychowicz, of Wethersfield. “I’ve never been to Connecticut before, so I was looking forward to it,” said Wally Foltz, who is a Purdue fan. "Love the city, and the venue is great, so we're pumped and we're excited. Hoping for a couple of victories.” "It was going to be exciting no matter where it was, but it was close to home so that made it even more exciting,” said Vanessa Sheppard. Download a March Madness bracket <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. March Madness gets business booming in Hartford It's been 20 years since the tournament last had games in Hartford. More than 25,000 people are expected to attend the games with even more filtering in and out of local businesses. Businesses on Pratt Street should be bustling at noon on Thursday with a pop-up pub and live music. Ahead of the tournament, Channel 3 spoke with the president and CEO of the Metro-Hartford Alliance. He said they're expecting more than a $7 million impact to the local economy by way of hotel stays, restaurants and shopping. “It brings people to Hartford, it’s an opportunity to highlight the people who may have not thought to come to Hartford," said David Griggs, president and CEO, Hartford-Metro Alliance. St. Patrick’s Day just happened, but at Vaughan’s Irish Public House in downtown Hartford, the party is still in full swing thanks to the tournament. "Everybody has been talking about it for a long time so we're expecting to meet some new friends and see some old ones. We're just hugely excited that the tournament is downtown and that we get a chance to shine,” said Johnny Vaughan, owner of Vaughan’s. One way for local restaurants and bars to stand out is by offering specials. “$3 Coors Lights, come and get them, 16 ounces,” said Shaun Valedaserra, bartender at Dish Bar &amp; Grill. With deals like that, combined with many bars and restaurants opening earlier and closing later, it's no surprise the influx of out-of-towners has already been noticeable. "We had a great crowd last night. There's a lot of people in town. We had a lot of people for dinner. Just coming into work this morning, it was great to see so many feet on the street,” Vaughan said. "There's definitely an increase in volume downtown, and we had a few people here yesterday from Florida state, can definitely tell there's a buzz in and around downtown,” Valedaserra said. There's also a pop-up brew pub that will canvass Pratt Street throughout the games. The all-day festival will feature beers from local breweries and a whole bunch of TVs to watch all the NCAA tournament games.
3 nearly completed buildings at Silver Sands State Park destroyed by fireMILFORD, CT (WFSB) – A fire destroyed a controversial construction project at Silver Sands State Park in Milford on Tuesday evening, according to authorities. Officials provided an update around 9 a.m. on Wednesday. Several 911 calls reported a "large fire" in the area of East Broadway and Silver Sands State Park, according to Milford Battalion Chief Anthony Fabrizi. Upon arrival, Fabrizi said firefighters located three buildings on fire, two of which were fully-involved. Firefighters used a "defensive attack." It was extinguished in about two hours. Officials determined the buildings housed a concession stand/dining area, public restrooms, and an office. The buildings were part of a $9 million renovation project. The project was expected to be completed for the Memorial Day Weekend. It was a project that <a href="" target="_blank">many people in the city spoke out against</a>. From the beginning, there was push-back from city leaders in Milford, and local legislators, saying they didn't want the project and that it would change their beloved park and that it was too much money to spend. “It's a shame and honestly I didn’t want to see if built, $10 million at a time when the state of Connecticut is in so much debt, this was really a luxury, but it is what it is. It was being built and the project will move forward," said State Rep. Kim Rose. As of Wednesday afternoon, investigators said they are not ruling anything out yet, including looking into whether or not its suspicious. “I’ve spoken with several DEEP officials, there will be a thorough investigation, but there was construction going on in the building yesterday, and they were using space heaters," Rose said. “It's devastating for the state and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to put this kind of effort into a project like this and to see it go up in flames in a short amount of time," said EnCon Police Capt. Keith Williams. For now, the park will remain closed while crews investigate. "We’re treating it as an active an open investigation," said Capt. Keith Williams, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection EnCon police. "We’ll see if any of those leads to if it was arson related or not. We’re looking into that, but like I said at this time, it’s really early in the investigation and it’s really going to unfold once daylight comes." There were no reported injuries on Tuesday night's fire. The cause is under investigation. Firefighters from the Stratford and West Haven fire departments provided mutual aid for Milford. “DEEP is grateful for the efforts of the Milford Fire Department and other responding agencies," said Katie Dykes, commissioner, DEEP. "The park will remain closed for as long as necessary to investigate the fire and protect the safety of the public. Though we are saddened by the loss of the buildings under construction, the most important thing is that no one was injured fighting the fire.”
Military wives start support group to connect with other families(WFSB) - Out of the veterans serving and returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, up to 20 percent of them suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That's according to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs. While service men and women sacrifice everything, so do their families. Life can be grueling for active duty service men and women and their families. If transitioning into civilian life, tack on the challenges. As one wife told Channel 3, she learned once her husband’s service ended, her service just began. Life does go on. While true at the Brown family's home, behind their housewares, an oppressive burden also lives here. “He’s carrying the weight of the brothers and sisters who didn’t come home.,” said Kim Brown, a military wife. Four deployments later after Iraq and Afghanistan, Chris Brown now suffers from PTSD and traumatic brain injury. Kim watched her husband transition from the U.S. Army into civilian life. She desperately searched for a support group to help her family navigate through her husband's mental health challenges. Eventually, she created one and met Shannon Mungavin. “Even the kids to go through this and, you know, not just know what’s coming next, they’re just brave,” Kim said. The two women craved a community with other military families. “When he deployed to Puerto Rico during hurricane relief, I was going through a very difficult time and we didn’t have the support,” Mungavin said. On Mungavin's face, the costs for military families is clear. The services and resources for everything ranging from health to socializing to parenting are not always so visible. So, Kim wanted to air these out with her group, Military Family Connection. On the first and third Thursday of each month, you'll find her and military spouses talking about job searches, clinical help and how outdoor activities help families reconnect. Sadness doesn't only fill the room, but excitement over help for their loved ones, whether active or retired. It's a tribe renewed by hope and understanding. For more information on the group, click <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. Click <a href="" target="_blank">here</a> for more information about Resilience Grows Here.
Blumenthal visits Navy residents dealing with housing issues in GrotonGROTON, CT (WFSB) - You’ve heard of disputes between tenants and landlords, but what if the landlord manages 100,000 houses for our military. The tenants, service men and women, aren’t satisfied with repairs, which they say are untimely. Senator Richard Blumenthal went door knocking looking for problems in Groton on Wednesday. “Let me introduce myself. I’m Richard Blumenthal. I’m the U.S. Senator,” Blumenthal said. Connecticut’s senior Senator Richard Blumenthal isn’t on the campaign trail looking for votes, but he’s looking into ongoing problems at military housing such as the 1,896 units near the U.S. sub base in Groton. Its owned and managed by the Balfour Beatty Corporation. Resident, Tiarria Perrill, has an ongoing mold problem in the bathtub. “They came out they cleaned the mildew. They sort of put the floor back and like sealed that,” said Perrill, a Navy housing resident. The next house had other mold and water problems. “Now, if you open the dishwasher, you will find they will come and fix it see there is water on the bottom and leaks,” said Justine Anderson, a Navy housing resident. Anderson said the Department of Defense pays $1,540 a month for their housing. The Senator says the landlord, in this case Balfour Beatty, should make necessary repairs in a timely manner for what the government is paying. What Blumenthal would like to change as a member of the Armed Forces Services Committee is to allow the military tenants to hold back on rents when there is a problem. “There should be standards and conditions you should be able to see the contract with Balfour Beatty, and you should have the right to stop payment if they fail to meet those standards,” Blumenthal said. Balfour Beatty released a statement saying, “We acknowledge there are some residents who have had experiences that do not meet our standards, and we are working diligently to correct that.” “I will say there have been times where actually have fixed stuff in a timely manner but there is stuff that they haven’t. I’ve been there three and a half years and it still pours in my bathroom every time it rains,” said Becca Rulo, a Navy housing resident. The law requires cordless blinds in military housing, but the Senator found corded blinds today. “The reason is they pose a real danger to young children,” Blumenthal said. Blumenthal will take all this input back to Washington D.C. and make sure landlords like Balfour Beatty are held accountable.
CCSU announces program to allow students over 21 to have alcohol on campusNEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -- Central Connecticut State University is set to announce a pilot program that would allow students over the age of 21 to have alcohol in designated area on campus. The move is based on student requests at the specific 21-and-older dorms. The program is set to launch in the fall, at Thomas Gallaudet Hall and F. Don James Hall. "I think it's a good idea. I think it could attract kids looking at campus because kids coming from out of state and maybe they see that they don't have the chance when they turn 21 to do that," said Mike Massarelli, who is a student at CCSU. In a press release, CCSU officials said “After a thorough review by the administration, the program, with provisions, was approved. As always, safety, education, and responsibility will be at the forefront of this new opportunity.” The college did a poll last year asking students what they wanted from the on-campus housing. "Asked students if we were going to allow alcohol in the buildings would they come back onto campus? And around 50 percent would come back. And that's makes sense. They're 21 years old and allow to do what adults are allowed to do," said Michael Jasek, vice president for Student Affairs at CCSU. He added that there will be education about alcohol use. "Responsible drinking. Minimizing the amount they are consuming, understand what the affects are, understanding how that could impact their academics and so it's a way for us to maintain that educational piece and bring students back on campus and participate in campus life," Jasek said. When the pilot program is up after one year, the university said it will look at how this has impacted the community, and the effect it had on students. Officials will be holding open forums in Memorial Hall to talk about the program at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m.